Dinning Area at ABaC Restaurant, Barcelona, Spain

ABaC Restaurant

The two-Michelin-starred restaurant of the ABaC hotel has been called one of the best in Catalonia. Most recently, it was named "Best Restaurant" by the Small Luxury Hotels of the World in 2017. Guests are welcome to walk through the kitchen to see the work of star chef Jordi Cruz, once the youngest Michelin-starred Spanish chef. The Versace tableware is a perfect match for the decadent food and décor.

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Food at Alkimia, Barcelona, Spain

Alkimia

Alkimia’s chef, Jordi Vilà, is a follower of Ferran Adrià. Minimalist décor in the restaurant allows guests to focus on Vilà’s deconstructed dishes, including pa amb tomàquet, a typical Catalan dish of white bread rubbed with tomato pulp and olive oil, served in a shot glass; bacallà (salt cod) with eggplant and blood-orange foam; and traditional fried eggs and Mallorcan sausage served with preserved quinces.

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Dinning Area at Arola, Barcelona, Spain

Arola

Located on the second level of the Hotel Arts, Arola offers diners an opportunity to try chef Sergi Arola’s cuisine in a casual setting. Catalan by birth, Arola travels to Barcelona each week to oversee the kitchen. The patio sits directly beneath Barcelona’s famed Gehry fish sculpture, and the views and sea breeze make this the perfect place for a long, leisurely lunch with a good bottle of wine. There have been some reviews of late, however, stating that the quality of the restaurant has slipped with inconsistent service. The food remains excellent however, if a bit overpriced.

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Auto Rosellon 

Inside a converted auto mechanics shop, Auto Rosellon is an airy Catalan eatery open from breakfast to late night.
Bar at Banker’s Bar, Barcelona, Spain

Banker’s Bar

The décor of the Mandarin Oriental’s hotel bar references the building’s former life as a bank with a wall made entirely of safety-deposit boxes. The drinks menu, on the other hand, references the Mandarin chain’s Asian roots with offerings like the “Ruskichai”—a vodka-based cocktail with orange and cranberry juices and champagne, served in a teapot for two. Enjoy cocktails either in the clubby lounge area or in the narrow, but pleasant, open-air porch.

Bar Cañete

Around the corner from the Liceu Opera House, Bar Cañete offers an extensive selection of creative tapas. The ingredients are fresh, with seafood coming in daily from nearby Catalan fish markets, and the long communal bar offers prime views of the kitchen. The long, narrow room can get boisterous, but that’s part of the fun—and an integral part of Spanish dining. Despite being located in a touristy area, it is a local favorite.

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Bar at Bar del Pla, Barcelona, Spain

Bar del Pla

A great stop before or after visiting the Picasso Museum, Bar del Pla is part casual bistro, part bustling tapas bar—and wholly delicious. The extensive wine list and seasonal tapas manage to be both traditional and creative. The unassuming spot is easy to miss, so look for the black awning above a small white counter and Spanish tiles.

Bar at Bar Lobo, Barcelona, Spain

Bar Lobo

Just a few steps off Barcelona’s famous and overcrowded La Rambla Avenue, sit the intriguing, mazelike, up-and-coming Raval district. Among these narrow streets, interspersed with galleries, trendy shops and the occasional seedy grocer, you’ll find Bar Lobo. The tiny gem boasts ceiling-high windows overlooking a plaza just big enough for two trees, some outdoor tables and a splash of sunshine. On sunny mornings, regulars sit outdoors and order a typical snack of espresso with a bite-sized “bocadillo” sandwich. On colder evenings, Bar Lobo’s indoor wooden tables are the perfect place to gather over draft beers, fried chili peppers and octopus carpaccio.

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Bar Mut

Bar Mut is as popular with well-heeled business folks as it is with hipster tourists, turning out some of the most unique, cleverly executed small plates in Barcelona. Traditional Catalan dishes like thinly sliced fried eggplant or scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms share the menu with more exotic concoctions such as slow-cooked pork served with sea cucumbers, or grilled razor clams. The eclectic décor features walls lined to the ceiling with wine and liquor bottles toting old price tags. Diners can opt to sit on bar stools or at a selection of tiny tables.

Dinning Area at Bar Velódromo, Barcelona, Spain

Bar Velódromo

Opened in 1933, this Barcelona institution was a popular meeting place for members of the Govern de la República during the Spanish Civil War. After a recent renovation, the expansive restaurant’s original Art Deco design has been refreshed with lime-green walls, lemon-yellow accents and a grand, red-carpeted staircase leading up to the second floor. The full menu is available all day, but most locals agree that the breakfast offerings are the kitchen’s strong point. At night, this becomes the go-to spot for late-night eats as most of the other nearby restaurants close around midnight. (Bar Velódromo is open until 3am.)

Bar at Bardeni el Meatbar, Barcelona, Spain

Bardeni el Meatbar

The tapas bar sister of Caldeni next door, Bardeni proffers a mix of inventive Catalonian tapas, and boasts some abbreviated versions of the meat dishes for which Caldeni is known. Bardeni is casual enough to grab a drink and light tapas for a midday snack, but also has a sophistication that lends itself to a sit-down lunch or dinner.

Bar at Bestial, Barcelona, Spain

Bestial

Call ahead to reserve a seat at the outdoor communal table at Bestial, a popular Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the ocean in the Olympic Harbor. Fresh homemade mushroom ravioli with prawns followed by one of their homemade fruit sorbets makes an ideal lunch by the sea.

Bar at Boadas Cocktails, Barcelona, Spain

Boadas Cocktails

Founded in 1933, this cozy spot claims to be the city’s oldest cocktail bar. Just off Las Ramblas Boadas is a good place to enjoy a well-mixed drink and travel back in time. The Art Deco style and bartenders in tuxedos seem to have gone unchanged over the past 80 years.

Lounge at Bobby Gin, Barcelona, Spain

Bobby Gin

The award-winning mixologist, Alberto Pizarro,  is behind this gin-only cocktail bar in the Gràcia district. The top-grade gin can be enjoyed in a classic G&T or infused with unexpected flavors such as anise or saffron. The extensive tapas menu features tasty treats like Iberian ham and ceviche.

Interior at Boca Chica, Barcelona, Spain

Boca Chica

Located on the second floor of the stately townhouse that also houses the Boca Grande restaurant, this cocktail bar has soaring ceilings, dim lighting and an impressive, mirror-backed bar. Tusks, animal heads, dark wood, leather furniture and hanging lanterns add up to a colonial-chic ambiance. Come to watch the beautiful people sip cocktails like the “Brigitte Bardot,” which is described as: “French spirits with berries, honey and the playfulness of the sexiest actress ever.”

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Lounge at Boca Grande, Barcelona, Spain

Boca Grande

Boca Grande buzzes with fashionable diners savoring fresh seafood and Galician dishes. The expansive dining area, decorated with dramatic 19th-century flourishes, encompasses three rooms and a tempting oyster bar. The must-order dish for the table is the whole fish baked in a layer of coarse sea salt. For after-dinner gin and tonics (Barcelona’s favorite digestif), diners head to Boca Chica, a hopping bar embellished with colonial relics. Even the washroom is cool: 18-foot-high walls glimmer with oversized antique mirrors and the DJ spins the latest dance tunes (yes, in the restroom).

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Food at Ca L'Isidre, Barcelona, Spain

Ca L'Isidre

Family-owned and operated since 1970, this restaurant serves refined Catalan cuisine in the Raval neighborhood. Close to MACBA and featuring museum-worthy décor itself (including original engravings by Salvatore Dali), the restaurant is a perennial favorite with Barcelona’s art crowd. The menu is also a work of art, with inspiring dishes such as broad beans sautéed with baby squid and mint; or foie gras and truffle ravioli with port wine sauce. Expect a more traditional crowd of diners than in Barcelona's more hip eateries. (The King of Spain likes to eat here.)

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outdoor tables with white tablecloths

Cal Pep

Ask any of Barcelona’s best chefs for their favorite tapas restaurant and most will send you to Cal Pep, a gourmet institution.

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Caldeni

For an escape from the tourist traffic when visiting the Sagrada Familia, Caldeni is the perfect spot for a quiet and refined meal. The sophisticated restaurant serves Catalan cuisine, with an emphasis on meat dishes, especially beef. (The highly decorated chef, Dani Lechuga, is the son of a butcher and has a deep appreciation for his father’s craft). There is a well-priced 10-course menu as well as a prix fixe lunch .

Can Cisa / Bar Brutal

The lively and authentic Can Cisa / Bar Brutal in El Born, Barcelona, draws a mix of locals and visiting foodies for its simple fare and natural wines.
Bar at Can Majo, Barcelona, Spain

Can Majo

A mainstay along the beachfront Barceloneta neighborhood since 1968, this seafood restaurant is famous for its paella.

Bar at Can Pineda, Barcelona, Spain

Can Pineda

Can Pineda is a Barcelona institution specializing in traditional Catalan cuisine. This century-old restaurant boasts a 3,000-bottle wine cellar, and serves home-cooked specialties with an emphasis on truffles, foie gras, oxtail, lobster, crayfish and the freshest ingredients from the market. The delicious dishes, ever-changing menu, warm atmosphere and friendly service are worth taking the trip to the outskirts of Barcelona.

Bar at  Casa Leopoldo, Barcelona, Spain

Casa Leopoldo

This traditional fine seafood restaurant in the non-gentrified Raval neighborhood dates back to 1929. The yellow-and blue-tiled dining room adds to the authentic Mediterranean feel. This is not a flashy place, but a Barcelona tradition.

Bar at CDLC, Barcelona, Spain

CDLC

This beachside eatery is popular amongst the city’s beautiful people. The mixed menu features salads, sushi, pastas and some standard tapas, and the 20-something crowd includes the occasional celebrity (including members of Barcelona’s soccer team). Pluses include the gauze-draped daybeds, excellent sea views and a St. Tropez atmosphere.

Cinc Sentits

In Catalan, Cinc Sentits means “five senses,” and indeed this restaurant appeals to all of them. “Food is the star, but we also spent a lot of time conceiving the design, music, light and atmosphere,” says Canada-born Catalan chef Jordi Artal. The entrance façade is half glass, half wood, and the white, minimalist interior is long and rectangular, with beige porcelain-tiled floors. The chef’s tasting menu, which changes frequently, is always a culinary adventure (and is the only option for here). A recent example: dates, mint and mascarpone wrapped in jamón; a wonderfully textured tapioca-and-caviar dish; and an incredibly tender beef fillet with wild mushrooms.

Entrance at  Cometa, Barcelona, Spain

Cometa

Not far from the famous Mercat Sant Antoni is the quickly gentrifying street Carrer del Parlament, where you will find lots of small design boutiques and hipster coffee shops. Cometa, which is decorated with works by local artists, is one of the best spots in the area to enjoy a light meal (sandwiches, quiches, brownies) any time of day, or to simply relax with a cup of coffee and a book.

Con Gràcia

A terrific international wine selection and intimate dining room make this a date-night favorite among Gràcia’s foodies. The inventive, seasonal tasting menu combines Mediterranean and Asian flavors.

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